Uganda has established several ecotourism sites where travelers go for nature, retreats and Eco tours. Unlike her nearby countries where mass tourism is evidenced, Uganda is managing responsible tourism growth by protecting its environment and its remarkable biodiversity.
Visiting these ecotourism sites will be a pleasant experience for those who love nature. Nature tourism or ecological tourism is trip to natural places that are relatively still not disturbed or contaminated (polluted) with the aim of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery, vegetation and wildlife, as well as other forms of cultural manifestation that exists, either of the past and present.
Eco tourism is simply a form of travel that involves visiting natural areas mainly to study, learn and participate in activities that minimize the negative impacts to the environment as well as socially and economically empowering and protecting the host communities.
This new tourism phenomenon involves activities that conserve the environment like Nature guided walks, village walks, bird watching, forest walks, gorilla trekking, boat cruises, chimp tracking, canoeing, nature photography and others related to cultural, rural, and natural tourism.
Here are different ecotourism sites in Uganda:
Uganda being largely blessed with nature in its spectacular national parks, snowcapped mountains, active volcanoes and a rich cultural history, it has established several ecotourism sites for nature retreats and encounters.
- Mabira Central forest reserve.
It covers a total area of 306 sq. km, making it the largest surviving natural forest covering in central Uganda. It’s a habitant to n312 tree species including the endangered Cordia Millenii and Mililia Exclesa. Over 315 bird species dwell here with the Tit Hylia, the Red Headed Blue Bill, the Black bellied Seed Cracker, the Shining Blue Kingfisher and the Blue headed Crested Monarc, Nahan’s , Francolin , Cassin Hawk Eagle , the Forest Wood hoope and many others, all calling Mabira forest reserve a home. Travelers also get a chance to sight some of the 218 butterfly species, 97 species of moths and the 23 small mammal species like the monkeys.
- Mpanga Central Forest Reserve.
This is a natural forest with rare tree species and flora like the Ficus family and Mahogany. The group of bird species like the Grey Parrot, Owls, Hornbills, Cuckoos, Ross Turaco and Weaver-birds make Mpanga forest reserve a perfect place for birding. This reserve is also a home to numerous primates mostly the red tailed monkeys.
- Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary.
This is an island home for the orphaned chimps located on Lake Victoria. It is one of the Koome group of islands approximately covering a total land area of 100 acres and 98 of it is forested. It is now a home to 40 orphaned chimps. A trip to Ngamba requires a one day excursion from Entebbe and travelers to the island usually engage in chimp viewing, overnight chimp feeding, chimp habituation and a boat cruise to the local fishing villages.
- Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
It is the only zoo in Uganda located in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. It was first opened as an animal orphanage offering sanctuary to abandoned young animals. UWEC is simply an orphanage home to animals and birds that cannot cope alone in the wild. The center majorly specializes in conservation education plus wildlife rescues and rehabilitation. Travelers that tour this center majorly engage in learning about the animals and birds of Uganda, chimp close up, behind the scenes even feeding the giraffes and long term volunteer programs.
- Bigodi wetland sanctuary.
Located in Magombe swamp in Kibale, this fascinating area is recognized as an extensive array of biodiversity with several primate species like the red colobus monkeys, baboons, blue monkey, grey cheeked, vervet monkeys and many others. It’s also a home to the sitatungas, chimps, mongooses, warthogs and bush bucks. Bigodi wetland is a community based destination providing economic benefit to different local residents within the areas as well as the whole tourism industry at large.
- Budongo forest.
This is the biggest mahogany forest in East Africa as well as the forest reserve with the biggest number of chimps in the country, making it an ideal place for chimp tracking in Uganda. Over 360 bird species, 290 species of butterflies, 24 mammal species and 130 moths species call Budongo’s 465 tree species a home. Nature walks, bird watching and chimp trekking are the activities that travelers to Budongo majorly engage in.
- Kashoya Kitomi Forest Reserve.
Covering an area of 433 square kilometers, the reserve is just adjacent to Queen Elizabeth, south of Lake George and Kazinga channel in the Albertine Rift valley. It is a residence to baboons, chimps, monkeys, bush pigs, duikers, antelopes, reptiles and birds. A visit to Kashoya Kitomi guarantees travelers sights of crater lakes like Lake Kamweru, Kyema and Kamunzuku the transparent lake, Lake George, Kazinga channel and Queen Elizabeth national park.
Note that Eco tourists can still go to Busingiiro Eco tourism site, Entebbe botanical gardens, Uganda reptile village, Ssese islands, Bulindi Eco tourism project and many other several sites all around the country. Indeed, if it’s an eco-trip, it should